GT World Challenge Esports America Sprint: Rodrigues holds off Sherratt for second win

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Igor de Oliveira Rodrigues held off a charging Chris Severt in the second round of the US-based SRO-organised esports competition, utilising Assetto Corsa Competizione,
GT World Challenge Esports America Sprint - Rodrigues holds off Sherratt for second win

The opening round of the Mobileye GT World Challenge America Esports Sprint Series witnessed two drivers dominate their respective classes. Igor de Oliveira Rodrigues was within sight of those behind yet controlled his race-leading advantage masterfully to win outright. Mérick Lévêque, meanwhile, hardly had to sweat – he annihilated his fellow competitors in the silver class. 

The second event posed a much more difficult challenge for those who benefitted from the tight nature of Laguna Seca. Circuit of the Americas provided a far more open track layout coupled with plenty more overtaking opportunities. If either class winner could double their money around this venue, it would mark a far greater statement of intent for the months to come.

Qualifying 

Rodrigues certainly had himself the best launching platform to do just that, securing a second consecutive pole position ahead of Angel Inostroza – gunning for his first podium of the year. Fidel Moreira already had one to his name. Having started alongside Rodrigues on the front row last time out, he would challenge from third in Austin. 

In the silver class, Lévêque was certainly going to have a larger challenge on his hands. He started a lowly eleventh; fourth in category. Ahead of him lay Cody Sherratt, Zach Doran and Nick DeSantis located up in fifth.

Race

Sadly for the Canadian, he would not even get the chance to redeem himself. On the exit of Turn 1, Lévêque was spun as part of a heavily congested midfield. Thrown well out of contention, he could only watch on as Sherratt made the most of the madness to climb past Doran into seventh. Even better news for the South African was confirmed just moments later. He now lay just one place behind DeSantis who had dropped behind Renan Negrini. 

GT World Challenge Esports America Sprint, COTA, Round 2, 2023 - race start

Further down the road, another concertina collision was about to unfold. Moreira carried far too much speed into Turn 8, rear-ending Inostroza. Chris Severt was on hand to pick up the pieces. As he locked ins second, DeSantis massively overshot the tight Turn 12. Sherratt could not believe his luck, the silver class lead was his by the end of the opening lap. Unfortunately, a missed braking point into Turn 8 just five minutes later reversed the change. 

Bad news was delivered via the stewards’ office to Moreira. A ten-second penalty was deemed the just punishment for his altercation with Inostroza. Aside from Negrini getting bullied down the order (and outside of the top five in the pro class), affairs went relatively quiet until the pitstop phase.

GT World Challenge Esports America Sprint, COTA, Round 2, 2023 - Chris Severt chases Igor de Oliveira Rodrigues

Of the front runners, Inostroza was first in. With the freedom of the circuit in front of him, Chile’s most notable sim racer knew that Moreira’s third was a given thanks to the penalty to be served. While he built up a gap to now fourth-placed DeSantis, Severt’s pit crew had performed a minor miracle; his gap to Rodrigues closed down to under a second. 

The American hounded the championship leader for every single second left on the clock. Even so, his pressure was water off the proverbial duck’s back. Rodrigues’ defence looked impervious and he crossed the line victorious yet again. 

GT World Challenge Esports America Sprint, COTA, Round 2, 2023 - Igor de Oliveira Rodrigues wins

Though losing fourth on the road to Moreira in the end, DeStantis claimed a morale-boosting win in the silver class. 

GTWCEA 2023 Round 2, Pro classification

  1. Igor de Oliveira Rodrigues – (1st) – 1’01:17.840
  2. Chris Severt – (2nd) +0.350
  3. Angel Inostroza – (3rd) +3.828
  4. Fidel Moreira – (4th) +12.869
  5. Cameron Martineau – (6th) +19.888

GTWCEA 2023 Round 2, Silver classification

  1. Nick DeSantis – (5th) – 1’01:33.376
  2. Cody Sherratt – (7th) +8.302
  3. Zach Doran – (8th) +15.209
  4. Hamza Gulzar – (10th) +19.652
  5. Koapono Patrick – (11th) +20.421
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